November 10, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Let’s continue to examine Ephesians 4:11 through 15:
…He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and
some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of
the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the mea-
sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we should no longer be child-
ren, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the
trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive,
but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the
head — Christ….
God’s goal for us to be Jesus Christ. Notice I did not say we are to be like Jesus Christ. God wants us to be Him upon this earth. When the Lord walked this earth, His purpose was to show forth the Father. As He told Philip in John 14:8, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father….” In Hebrews 1:3 it says Jesus is “…the brightness of His [God’s] glory, and the express image of His person….” And Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” So not only did Jesus project a clear image of the Father, He also manifested the Holy Spirit. As He told the disciples in John 14:16 and 17, “…I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth….” The Greek word another means another of the same kind – the same kind as Jesus! So Jesus shows forth to us the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit! If you want to know what God is like – God in His fulness – take a good look at Jesus!
But Jesus is no longer upon this earth. Or is He? In our scripture, verse 12, we are referred to as “…the body of Christ….” Paul summarizes the idea for us in Colossians 1:18: “And He is the head of the body, the church….” We are the only physical body that Jesus Christ now has on earth! “ And He is the head….” We are to be in complete submission to Him as Jesus leads us. The head contains the brain which controls the body in our physical being. The body – if it is working properly in relation to the brain – just follows orders, carrying out the brain’s directions.
Jesus Christ knows exactly what to do with His body, the Church. We are to simply follow His directions. Ideally, we are to have no say in such matters, just obedience. It is not that we are to be mindless automatons. We, moment by moment, make our decisions. He, Himself, showed us what to do when He prayed to His Father in the garden, “…nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). If we consistently do this, Jesus will have His physical body on earth – us! And, by the way, the more we submit to His Lordship, the more free and abundant our lives will be! (see John 8:32, 36; 10:10).
So we are to be Maturing In Christ. As Paul said in our scripture, verses 14 and 15, “…we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…but…grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ….” You can convince a young child of almost anything. If you tell a three-year-old, “I have an elephant in the basement!” they would probably say, “Let’s go and see!” But a mature thinking adult will discern between what is true and what is false.
There are many who use “…trickery…[and] cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive…” (verse 14). Or they themselves are deceived and pass on false information. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who come to your door are usually totally convinced the false ways they are propagating are true and correct. But such belief denies the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s Son, the Son of God, and denies our reliance upon His work He wrought on the cross for our redemption. They may be very sincere, but error – even if sincerely believed – will take one to hell! Too many church members fall for such error! They are not well-enough grounded in the truth to discern false doctrine when it is presented!
How are we to grow up and be Maturing In Christ so we are not taken in “…with every wind of doctrine…?” How do Secret Service agents train to spot counterfeit money? Tim Challies who blogs on Challies.com, interviewed an expert on currency at the Bank of Canada. He had questioned the old adage that agents concentrate first on real currency so they can then spot a phony quickly. After receiving some basic training during the interview, he wrote, “It turns out that John MacArthur is correct. Training in identifying counterfeit currency begins with studying genuine money.”
Study the real thing! Get familiar with the truth! Read, study, meditate upon, even memorize the Bible – God’s Word, the Truth revealed! You will be Maturing In Christ, and you will be able to discern error when it is presented.
In Wednesday’s blog, we’ll consider what God has provided for His Church so Christians can be Maturing In Christ.